This past weekend, my hometown hosted the first ever Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Championship. The event took place at the Iowa Country Fairgrounds in Mineral Point, WI, and was well attended by hundreds of cheese connoisseurs.
Both amateur and professional grilled cheese makers were invited to compete in the event. Separate “heats” were held in four different sandwich categories: Classic, Classic Plus One, Classic Plus Extras and Classic Dessert. All entries were required to use real Wisconsin cheese and were judged based on their presentation, taste and style. The panel of judges consisted of Pam Jahnke, the Wisconsin Farm Babe; Katie Wirkus, Wisconsin’s Alice in Dairyland; Dani Maxwell, anchor at 27 News Wake Up Wisconsin; and Head Judge John Johnson, Chef Instructor at Madison College.
First, Second and Third Place awards and prizes were given for each sandwich category for both amateurs and professionals. A “Best of Show” award was also given to the most outstanding grilled cheese sandwich of the competition.
Some of this year’s exhibitors included Regal Ware/American Kitchen, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Madison College, Metcalfe’s Market, Sector67, Melthouse Bistro, Driftless Market, Boar’s Head, Green County Cheese Days, Mineral Point/Dodgeville Chambers of Commerce, Iowa County Humane Society, Iowa County Economic Development Corporation/Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen and the Hodan Center.
The event offered free admission to the general public, as well as live music by Ben Biser and Whiskey River, beer and wine, grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, and a whole lot of fun!
Celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month by cooking up your own special sandwich today!